Review: Nights at the Circus

Audiences clamour for her arrival, which will coincide with that of the new century.

For we are at the fag-end, the smouldering cigar-butt, of a nineteenth century, which is just about to be ground in the ashtray of history.

Sophie Fevvers, a woman with wings- the Venus Cockney, fact or fiction?

Sophie Fevvers is an aerialiste– with wings! She retells her own tale to Walser- hatching as an egg, an adolescent with wings- who becomes so enthralled in her tale that he becomes a clown to follow her. This is a story about breaking from the gilded cage, the egg– of individuals discovering their true identities and love beyond which they were prescribed.

Angela Carter’s tale knits together her magical prose with a magical plot and magical characters: dancing tigers, prophetic pigs and a flying woman. An interwoven set of stories about a cast of colourful characters at the end of a century. It captures a sense of transformation that takes place in the last moments of the nineteenth century (fictional or real)- women who think for themselves, men who see beyond their physical strength, anarchists and socialists who dream of a better world.

A fantastical read for anyone who wants to lose themselves in a hurricane of a mythic history.

 

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